[Foundation-l] "antisocial production" & pt:wiki policies

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Tue Jun 30 04:53:37 UTC 2009

Steven Walling wrote:
> 1. You're wrong. Just today I myself received some kind words offlist, but
> related to a thread. Just because you're not getting the air of friendliness
> you desire (at this moment anyway), doesn't mean friendliness doesn't exist.

Getting friendly words offlist, says nothing about the list.  I'm sure 
that we all are more friendly with some than with others, so there's 
nothing unusual about private messages.  It's much easier to say 
something to someone privately; there is less risk of needing to defend 
every point that you are raising, less risk that some detail might be 
taken adversarially. 
> 2. It's a mailing list for discussion and debate, not an outlet for personal
> validation. If you don't like being debated and disagreed with, then don't
> post your opinions on something. I personally find asking questions rather
> than making statements tends to garner a gentler response, if you're in need
> of one.

Conflationist nonsense!  One of the problems is precisely that those who 
don't like being bullied don't post, because that shuts out an entire 
range of opinions from those who are more thoughtful than loud.  There's 
a problem with just asking questions too. If what you want is a dose of 
paternalistic pablum, that's exactly what you'll get.  Attend a 
political (or some other) speech that is followed by a "question 
period", and there is an implicit social barrier between you and the 
speaker.  If you know he's wrong you still have to concede that he is in 
a position to shout louder.
> 3. All mailing lists are at times more hostile than any real life
> conversation. It's far from unique to Wikimedia lists, and I've seen
> *far*more angry flame wars on other mailing lists. If it's a problem
> of the
> medium of mailing lists and not of Wikimedian culture, then there's nothing
> we could change about our culture that would make a mailing list more
> friendly. I for one see us as already going out of our way to try and be a
> culture that welcomes open discussion free of insulting behavior.

It's not just mailing lists.  Perhaps our worst offenders don't even 
participate in the mailing lists.  Mailing lists are certainly less 
hostile than those in-your-face real life situations that encourage 
violence.  Perhaps too, those who shout here wouldn't have the courage 
to express their real feelings in person to their opponents.  Going out 
of one's way is primarily a reflection of individual efforts, and we do 
have some such individuals.  It doesn't generalize well into a community 

> On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 7:01 PM, Nathan <nawrich at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The most significant problem, Virgilio, is that there isn't too much people
>> on this list can do. Unless and until problems become so clear that steward
>> or Foundation action are obviously called for, there is unlikely to be much
>> concrete action at all. Since we can't impose a solution to the problems
>> you've identified from afar, and most of us can neither verify these
>> problems nor participate in fixing them without speaking the language...
>> What else should we do?
>> You're right, though, that exchanges on this list aren't always very
>> friendly. Maybe because very few discussions are actually productive, and
>> outside of cooperative effort most friendly exchanges are more likely to be
>> taken off-list.
>> Nathan

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